O'Brien level with famous namesake after Frozen Fire wins Irish Derby

In the absence of the favourite, the winner was always going to be escorted over the line by the phantom of New Approach. But Frozen Fire forged his success here yesterday in the company of an ally every bit as intangible as his missing adversary. He did not simply finish like the wind; he ran with it, too.

In the process he reinforced the hegemony of Aidan O'Brien and his patrons at Coolmore Stud, who were sharing their third consecutive success in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby – and their sixth in all, bringing O'Brien level with his great predecessor and namesake, Vincent.

As usual, O'Brien modestly distributed the credit among his staff at Ballydoyle, whose contribution could be measured by the fact that Frozen Fire was ridden – just like Soldier Of Fortune last year – by Seamus Heffernan. Cherished for his daily work on the gallops, Heffernan has never been more than understudy to the stable jockey, but here his understated mien cloaked an authentic masterpiece. For the first half of the race, the runners were galloping into the gale that had scattered the cloud high and wide above the sunny plain of Kildare. Heffernan sheltered his mount at the very rear of the field, and waited until turning into the straight before leaving their slipstream. Those ridden towards the van were already playing their hand, but their collective exhaustion told in dramatic fashion as they began barging each other across the track. Frozen Fire, in contrast, was able to run them down with a fresh, billowing stride. The visual effect, at least, was such that it was easy to imagine him giving even New Approach a run for his money.

The champion had been scratched in the morning, still troubled by some indeterminate problem, and thereafter it was going to take something special to undermine the memory of his performance at Epsom. The warm favourite, after all, was the colt who got nearest to him there, Tartan Bearer.

Frozen Fire, in contrast, never landed a blow that day, when ridden by Mick Kinane, but he is by no means the only horse to have lost his bearings on Tattenham Hill. And he had previously forced Tartan Bearer to a photo in the Dante Stakes at York, just tiring on his first start of the season.

"In fairness, when he came in Mick said that this was a very good horse and that we should ignore the run," O'Brien said. "It just got a bit messy in the middle of the race and he was one of those that got chopped back. I couldn't be happier for Seamus. It couldn't happen to a better fellow. He knows the horses inside out, and every year, he's a better rider."

Having instead favoured Alessandro Volta, Johnny Murtagh shadowed the pacemakers and took over on the home turn, followed by Curtain Call and Tartan Bearer. But the attrition soon told, Alessandro Volta rolling into the former and pushing the latter wide – leaving Frozen Fire to circle the lot of them and beat Casual Conquest two lengths. Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Tartan Bearer, was vexed to see his colt "carried halfway across the track". All in all it was not much of a day for his jockey, Ryan Moore, who had earlier been fined €1,000 after an altercation with security staff when trying to gain access to the track.

Instead it was O'Brien who fortified the empire of John Magnier and his partners. True, Soldier Of Fortune had earlier gone down narrowly to the Mick Channon-trained Youmzain in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, the pair clear of Doctor Dino. But O'Brien had already furnished them with a 10th success in 11 runnings of the big juvenile race on the card, the One 51 Railway Stakes. The Ballydoyle carousel is already into its next, inexorable circuit. Mastercraftsman, winner of a maiden here in May, counted among his victims Bolger's colt, Intense Focus, who had finished second in the Coventry Stakes. Having made an overt priority of his home Classics this season, Bolger has been poorly rewarded for his patriotism. First the ground was too firm for New Approach in the Guineas here; and next the carpet was taken from under his feet. At least Bolger can congratulate himself for having already observed the lessons of this setback, with that extempore decision to run at Epsom. When a thoroughbred is fit and sound, you take the bird in the hand every time.

Bolger was unable to specify the source of the colt's discomfort. The initial suspicion was of a foot bruise, but a muscular problem now seems more likely. "The horse is still not sound, and it may not be his foot," he admitted. "We will take him for scans and x-rays tomorrow, and will know more after that."

As he observed, it can take "10 days or 10 weeks" to soothe a muscle problem. At least he managed to retain that grim pride of his. "It could still be a bruise, but I can categorically say it's not a stone bruise," he said. "We don't have any stones."

But all that scrupulous horsemanship was once absorbed by O'Brien himself, during his days as assistant at Coolcullen. After six winners at Royal Ascot, he even has Magnier "pinching himself". The Coolmore boss reserved sporting commiserations for the connections of New Approach. "We wish the horse a speedy recovery," he said. "And hope for some fun in the days ahead."

The weathervane had certainly swung that way.

* Chris McGrath selected Frozen Fire in Saturday's preview as an alternative to the subsequently withdrawn New Approach.

Chris McGrath

Nap: Jojesse(Musselburgh 7.25)

NB: Mintoe (Musselburgh 7.55)

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone